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Sunday, March 14, 2010

LG GD900 Crystal



The LG GD900 Crystal is an average-sized handset at 105mm × 52.8mm × 13.5mm (4.1in x 2.1in x .5in), and weighs-in at a fairly typical 120g (4.2oz). It takes on a fairly standard slider form-factor, but with a twist. The lower half of the GD900 is made almost entirely from transparent plastic and tempered glass. This isn't really that unusual, as we've all seen transparent covers for some Nokias in the past, but the GD900's keypad doesn't have any ugly electronics inside, so you can literally see straight through it. The keypad lettering and numbers are the only thing to slightly obscure your view, but are mostly invisible when the keypad lights are off. Once the keypad lights up, these markings are much easier to see and the keypad looks very jazzy, especially at night.

The upper half of the LG Crystal is also pretty flashy as it's clad in a very shiny plastic with a mirrored finish around the display. The result of this is that the whole phone, including the transparent parts, is a fingerprint nightmare. The other downside is that the shiny covering over the front panel gives the display very poor legibility in bright sunlight. It even suffers glare indoors! The display itself is pretty nice though, featuring WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution and the ability to show 16 million colors. The display measures 3 inches across the diagonal and is of the capacitive touchscreen variety, which means no stylus is required. Happily, multi-touch is also present, allowing pinch gestures to be made on the screen.

Above the Crystal's display you'll find a chrome clad earpiece, a forward facing videocall camera, plus light and proximity sensors. Toward the bottom of the front panel you'll find three touch sensitive keys for call send, call end, and the S-class cube menu/multitasking menu. For once I'm fine with these being touch sensitive, as the screen and keypad are also touch sensitive, which means that everything feels very cohesive. The keypad itself responded to my inputs very well, whether I was entering text or making gestures on it.

The transparent back cover of the GD900 is tinted at the top, with a gradient towards being fully transparent at the bottom. This means that you can actually see the battery through the rear cover when the device is closed, though the uglier internal parts are hidden. When the device is open, the rear-mounted camera lens for the 8 megapixel camera is unveiled, along with its self-portrait mirror and single LED flash. Just below this is the Crystal's microSDHC slot, which can accept cards up to 32GB in capacity. The GD900 has 1.5GB of internal memory to start you off.

On the right side of the device you'll find the volume rocker and camera shutter button. On the left side of the device you'll find just the micro-USB port for charging/headphones/data. Overall, the build quality of the LG GD900 is pretty good, with no creaks or squeaks to speak of, and offers a smooth sliding action. My only complaint is that the transparent half of the phone feels quite cheap, because the rear cover is made of hollow plastic, rather than tempered glass like the keypad.

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